What do Jack Nicholson in Something’s Gotta Give, Desperate Housewives' Bree Vanderkamp’s cheating husband Rex, and Mad Men’s advertising boss Roger Sterling have in common? Answer: A libido their hearts just can’t handle.
But while men having heart attacks during sex is a common enough plot device, experts suggest in the land of non-fiction, guys with heart conditions aren’t receiving enough advice about the relative safety of having sex.
A new report published in The American Journal Of Cardiology reports that just one third of women and 47% of men surveyed for a new study, reported receiving hospital discharge instructions about resuming sex. And those who were not given guidance reported a decline in their sex lives.
Lead author, Stacy Tessler Lindau, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Chicago Medicine, in a statement: "Receiving instructions, prior to hospital discharge, about resuming sex was a major predictor of whether patients resumed sexual activity in the year following acute myocardial infarction (heart attack)."
She added: "The discharging cardiologist is best positioned to advise on the safety of engaging in physical activity, including sex."
Current US guidelines suggest heart patients whose condition has stablised can resume sexual activity within one week.
In January, the American Heart Association (AHA) put more weight behind those recommendations with its most comprehensive review to date of research on sexual activity among heart patients.
The report substantiated a longstanding rule of thumb: If patients can engage in moderate exercise – such as walking up a couple of flights of stairs – they are generally healthy enough for sex.
"Doctors need to understand the significant role they play in helping patients avoid needless fear and worry about the risk of relapse or even death with return to sexual activity," said Lindau in a statement
In reality, only about 1% of all heart attacks occur during sex, according to report in Senior Journal, and few of those are fatal.
Besides being fun and pleasurable, sex also offers many health boosts many of us take for granted. Take a look at these surprise benefits of having regular sex...
According to research from Wilkes University, making love twice a week releases an antibody called immunoglobulin A or IgA, which helps protect the body from infections and illnesses. Other research suggests that frequent ejaculations in men reduces the risk of prostate cancer later in life. According to the British Journal of Urology International, men who ejaculate five or more times a week, had a lower risk of prostate cancer.
It doesn't take an expert to connect an energetic love making session with burning calories. Just thirty minutes of action under the sheets burns off around 85 calories. After 42 half-hour sessions, you could burn 3,570 calories, which is the equivalent of 1lb in weight. By having sex three times a week for a year, you could burn off the equivalent of 5lbs a year. Who needs a diet?!
During sex, a hormone called oxytocin is released when the body climaxes, which increases the level of endorphins that acts like natural a pain relief. This causes the body to relax. Many notice their aches and pains, like swelling, inflammation, headaches and menstrual cramps, disappear after sex and gradually improve with regular action.
Women who have regular orgasms are generally more relaxed, less depressed and mentally, physically and emotionally satisfied. Regular sex also helps the body sleep better as it relieves tension plus it helps the brain produce serotonin - the chemical that gives the body a 'mood' lift and is commonly found in antidepressants.
Regular sex releases a surge of plethora chemicals into the body, also known as the 'happy hormones', and they contain testosterone. As we age, the level of testosterone decreases, so the more sex you have, the more your hormone levels increases. This surge of hormone help keep bones and muscles healthy - plus it keeps skin looking plump and youthful. In women, regular sex also helps keep the pelvic floor muscles healthy, which decreases the chances of not-so-sexy incontinence later in life.